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Non-’90s Bargain-bin Finds

Usually when hitting the bargain bins, I’m grabbing ’90s stuff. Mostly DC and Marvel, and other randomish stuff. But this time, I found some stuff much more recent, from just the last several years, that totally made my day to find.

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First, I was surprised to discover several TPBs in the 25-cent bins–so much so that I actually asked if they were supposed to be in there. I recall seeing this Turok book a few years ago, but $14.95 seemed too steep for what it is. Of course, for 25-cents it’s an awesome purchase. The Sigil books are quite worthwhile at the price as well–one for me, one for a friend.

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While I’ve refused to pay $3.99 for certain comics, I can’t deny my interest in the Regenesis phase of X-Men stuff. I’ve told myself for awhile I’d backtrack via bargain-bins…I just expected $1-bins, so 25-cent bins I will definitely take advantage!

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I have several gaping holes in my X-Men run, that this bunch begins to plug, though just barely. I missed a few years where I was all but unaware of what was going on in this title; I’ve since caught up a bit (a couple of these issues I bought digitally during a comiXology sale a couple months back), but again…25-cents is a steal for issues so recent.

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I saw a set of these four Magneto issues at another comic shop a few weeks back–while I don’t recall the price, I think it was around $16…I thought these were $3.99 issues but looking now, they’re priced at $2.99 (further example of Marvel losing up-front sales from me for “training” me to believe anything they put out is more likely $3.99!). I’ve been interested in the title, and my waiting has CERTAINLY paid off here.

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Finally, I grabbed the two issues of X-Men Legacy I saw, and for 25-cents can afford to try The First X-Men (heck, if it still has the download code, that alone is “worth” the 25-cents!).

The entire bargain-bin haul for the week barely cost me what any two issues would have cost me new off the rack as recently as this past summer.

Sigil #1 [Review]

Writer: Mike Carey
Pencils: Leonard Kirk
Inks: Ed Tadeo
Colors: Guru eFX
Letters: Rob Steen
Cover: Jelena Djurdjevic
Production: Irene Y. Lee
Asst. Editor: Sebastian Girner
Senior Editor: Nick Lowe
Published by: Crossgen/Marvel Comics

I’ve missed Crossgen. However, until this issue, I don’t recall ever reading an issue of Sigil. So, with this being a new take on things and not a continuation of the old…I come to it fresh. And perhaps for that, I greatly enjoyed this issue.

The issue opens with some disembodied voices talking about some past events, and we gradually move to seeing someone who turns toward the camera with surprise, and cut to a high schooler–Samantha Rey–waking suddenly from the dream, to an impatient father trying to get her up for school. She has an important history exam that day, and we learn she’s having trouble with school since losing her mother. Further exposition follows as daughter/father talk, and then as Sam stops by the cemetery on her way to school. Once at school, we see some of what Sam’s high school life is like, as an encounter with a bully forces her to race to class, where her teacher is not happy at her tardiness. Beginning her history exam, she blacks out to a vision, and finds an hour passed, leaving her in hot water with the teacher. We’re introduced to other students, and then Sam’s bully instigates a situation that causes Sam’s birthmark to flare up, and she finds herself facing the realization that her birthmark is something far more.

The art–perhaps simply for Sam having red hair–reminds me a bit of Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane, and the high school setting certainly contributed to that as well. The art seems fairly simple…smooth, and the coloring somehow lighter or “brighter” than I think I’m used to. Overall, nothing struck me in a negative light, and I had zero issue with the art. The entire art team provides a great piece of work that clearly conveys everything going on, and I really liked the art overall.

The story is quite solid. It’s got a lot of exposition to bring us up to speed on the main character in particular, to work us into her world, and while it’s rather noticeable as exposition…it still works for me. It seems the most important, core elements are presented in this issue as we should get from any first issue. The story provides a nice hook at the beginning, introduces us to the main character, to her family, to her school life, and then takes that extra little leap into what makes this story more than just some slice-of-life about some random high school girl. The cliffhanger leaves me eager for more, and yet I don’t feel shortchanged by what story was provided in this issue by itself.

Overall…this is a fantastic start to the series. For some reason, I have it in my head that this is just a mini-series…but I for one would absolutely love to see this as an ongoing, if every issue was up to the quality of this one.

As said above…I come to Sigil fresh. I recognize the name of the ship Sam sees–and caught myself grinning when I recognized it. Major plot point or simple nod to the past, its presence is a welcome inclusion. The use of the sigil itself reminds me of early issues of the original Crossgen stuff without feeling out of place…perhaps for its stylized modification from the original.

I also come to this just totally thrilled that it carries a $2.99 price.

I don’t often talk about a comic’s cover…but I really like the layout of this, what I believe is the “trade dress” for the new Marvel Crossgen stuff. Having Marvel‘s logo at the very bottom puts it virtually out of site, allowing the Crossgen sigil to stand as its own thing at the top, allowing the “branding” to stand on its own. The logo seems familiar, though I can’t presently recall the original to know how it compares to that. The main image draws the eye to the sigil, as a whole emphasizing that. There’s something to be said about such a close-up on the character, but the image doesn’t truly stray into particularly questionable territory.

This is a complete, totally fresh start…there is zero need to have ever read anything else before this. The art is easy on the eyes, and the story draws one in. While fans of the original Crossgen work may be disappointed at this not being a return to the original series…I think it likely that those fans will be able to appreciate this new start. And for anyone considering this…I highly recommend it! As a whole, I consider this a fantastic first issue that is more than the sum of individual story/art ratings…as seen below.

Story: 8/10
Art: 9/10
Whole: 9.5/10

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